How Important Is Anchor Text These Days?

Hi Guys,

Today I wanted to talk about anchor text.  Anchor text for a number of years has been used by Google to determine the relevance of a link and to help determine what the linked to page is about.  Hence why it has been a major ranking factor and why lots of backlinks using anchor text “blue widgets” told Google that the page those links pointed to was about “Blue widgets”.

Like anything else, people cottoned on and learned to game the system by building their own links using text that contained their “target” keywords.  Anchor text held a lot of weight for a long time but the question now is… how important is anchor text these days since the recent Google updates.

Advanced Algorithms

Well, the truth of the matter is that Google and other search engines have become far more advanced than what they used to be.  Previously you could use anchor text links to rank a page at the top for near enough any keyword, even if the page had nothing whatsoever to do with the keywords in the links.  These were referred to as Google Bombs.  Remember wordlwide pranks such as the President George Bush Google bomb where his “presidential page” ranked at the top for an “unpleasant keyword”.

So, What’s Changed?

Well, as I mentioned above… technology is what changed.  Google these days are able to analyze a web page far better than what they used to.  They can pretty much determine exactly what a page is about along with the quality of that page.  It no longer relies on anchor text like it used to do.  We can’t trick Google or add more weight to our pages by using anchor text.

So, What Can We Do?

Carry on what we are doing but don’t get “heavy” with the anchor text.  As Google doesn;t need us to tell them what our pages are about they are just looking for “votes” rather than descriptive anchor text.  This is where Google Penguin came into play.  Webmasters and marketers were penalized due to over optimization.  These people who in their eyes over stepped the mark and forced “keywords” down Googles throats paid the price.

It’s not necessarilly about the anchor text you use these days but rather the anchor text you “don’t use”.  Google looks for links from relevant web pages.  If a web page that is trusted and is relevant to another web page and then links to that web page, that backlink will hold some value.  Google can see that relevance so it doesn’t need use to over optimize our links and stuff our keywords in our anchor text all the time.

So, What Kind Of Anchor Text Should I be Using?

Google is getting big on branded sites.  Brands are seeing a boost in rankings and traffic and Google seems to be taking notice of these brands.  My software website is www.andyblackseo.com so a branded anchor text link would be something like…..

  • Visit the AndyBlackSEO.com website
  • Visit AndyBlackSEO.com here

Also use universal anchors and plenty of them.  Universal anchors are natural links that don’t include any specific keywords.  Before they might have seemed “anti” SEO but things have changed and as Google can determine the topic of a web page without being dependant on anchor text, it makes sense to use universal anchors within your link building campaigns.

Here are some examples of universal anchor text…

  • Click here
  • Visit our website
  • For more information
  • Read more here

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should not include keywords.  You should still add these into the mix but reduce the number RIGHT down.  Use related words as well and not necessarily the keyword you are targeting.

Recently I recommended a new online application called Anchor Text Turbine.  This is a great tool as it gives you a complete anchor text profile for you to use when building links.  It can tailor this for new domains, exact match domains, websites that need some link dilution, branded websites and the list goes on.  If you bought this product then use it and remember what I have said in this article.  If you haven’t then you can check it out here before it closes shortly.  SEO is changing and we need to move with the times.  Don’t be tempted to insert your keywords into every link you build.  Just build content rich, relevant pages and the rest will follow.

A Quick Heads Up

I’m launching some new software on 29th November which will help those who have been affected by the recent Google updates and have seen there sites plummet.  If you have websites that you have spent months or years building only to have been penalized by Google then this could “possibly” be your saviour.  More news shortly!

Link Building Software Launching Soon

I’ve also been road testing a neat new link building tool that is being released on Tuesday 13th November ’12.  I’m going to be working on one or two software tools that will compliment this new software and will be offering them as a bonus along with some kind of training (time permitting).  Keep a look out for further news next week.

To your success!

Andy Black
AndyBlackSEO.com

3 comments

  1. I am enjoying your work and updates. It is good tofollow someone who is ready to discover new things and does not pretend to have all the answers.

    Is it still valuable to comment on blogs where the page is not relevant to your own website?

    How about dofollow and nofollow links? Has google updates made nofollows valuable again? As many ‘natural’ links are often nofollow.

    Andy Reply:

    Hi Duncan and thanks for commenting. The thing with SEO Duncan is that nobody has the answers but Google, and it constantly changes. It’s a valid question you have asked. Me personally would tend to stay away from irrellevant blogs. Related blogs are fine that has some kind of connection to the subject but not blogs that bare no relation whatsoever.

    If a webpage links to another relevant web page it adds to the user experience and I believe that this can help both pages to rank. Google is all about user experience and the better user experience you can offer your site visitors the better.

    Only leave comments on moderated blogs too. Don’t add random links to blogs that have dozens of spammy links (bad link neighbourhood). As for your question of nofollow. Having nofollow links is natural and creates a better “overall” link profile. The better the link profile you have the better you will rank.

  2. london seu says:

    Andy I agree, Keyword diversity is so important for anchors. Google has implemented yet another panda update today so anyone involved in seo has to move with the times.